Robotic Assisted Partial Nephrectomy

What is a Partial Nephrectomy?

If you have been diagnosed with kidney cancer or kidney disease, it will be necessary to remove the tumour and all surrounding kidney tissue whilst preserving as much healthy kidney tissue as possible. This procedure is called a partial nephrectomy or nephron sparing surgery.

The aim of a partial nephrectomy procedure is to safely remove the tumour whilst leaving behind the rest of the kidney in order to preserve renal function. In expert and experienced hands a partial nephrectomy is likely to be an option in most tumours less than 4cm in size and in a selected proportion of tumours 4 – 7cm in diameter.

Evidence would suggest that partial nephrectomy has the same ‘cure’ rate for the cancer as removing the whole kidney (radical nephrectomy) and appears to be associated with an overall improvement in survival generally, probably thanks to a relatively lower associated risk of death from cardiovascular causes e.g. heart attack, strokes etc.

An individual, tailored approach using robotic kidney surgery

Uniquely in the UK, Neil Barber can tailor the position of the small incisions for the robotic ports to the position and orientation of the kidney tumour. This means an individual approach for each patient. Usually 4 small (less than 1cm) incisions are made, although one may be made slightly larger in order to extract the mass.

On average, patients currently stay only 1 night in hospital although some feel happier to stay 2 nights and thanks to the precision and dexterity of the Da Vinci robotic instruments as well as the improved vision, complication rates are very low and conversion to an open procedure is very unlikely (<1% risk).

Once home, patients are encouraged to slowly move to normal activity and by 2 weeks, most have achieved this and are back to their normal levels of activity.

For more information on the partial nephrectomy procedure using the Da Vinci Robotic System please visit